ByteDance says it won’t sell TikTok

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ByteDance said a report that it is considering selling a majority stake in TikTok’s US business – after the US passed a law forcing the country to divest its ownership position or risk a ban on the app – is “not true”.

The Chinese internet giant responded to a report On Thursday, tech news site The Information, citing anonymous sources, reported that ByteDance is “internally exploring scenarios for the sale of a majority stake in TikTok’s US operations, preferably to companies outside the tech industry, and without the video recommendation algorithm to TikTok users.” ByteDance first posted its denial of the report on China’s ByteDance-owned news platform Toutiao. reported by the Wall Street Journal.

TikTok says it plans to file a lawsuit against the new U.S. law under the First Amendment. If that doesn’t work, the app could be banned in the US as early as January 2025.

SEE ALSO: Will TikTok be banned in the US? What the new law means for the users of the app

Under the new law, which was quickly approved by Congress, unless ByteDance sells its stake in TikTok by April 2025, the popular video app will be sold to owners based in a country that does not consider the US a “foreign adversary” , illegal to distribute in the US. The legislation was signed into law by President Biden on April 24 as part of an emergency foreign aid package.

If ByteDance were to entertain the idea of ​​selling TikTok, it would be a very expensive transaction. In the US alone, the app generated $16 billion in revenue by 2023, valuing the company at $150 billion annually. The Financial Times report.

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During a contentious House committee hearing last year, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew claimed that forcing ByteDance to divest its ownership stake in the app would not change the way TikTok operates. “A change of ownership would not impose new restrictions on data flows or access,” he said. “All global businesses face common challenges that must be addressed through safeguards and transparency.”

US lawmakers have expressed deep concern that TikTok poses a national security threat, suggesting ByteDance is under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party and could “weaponize” TikTok to spy on Americans. TikTok has repeatedly claimed that the Chinese government has never imposed any requirements for access to the app’s user data. Additionally, it says 60% of ByteDance’s ownership is represented by “global institutional investors,” including Blackrock, General Atlantic and Susquehanna International Group. Another 20% is owned by ByteDance’s founders and the remaining 20% ​​is owned by its employees (including more than 7,000 Americans), according to TikTok.

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